The tiny plastic particles are big sources of pollution and have been banned
If you’ve been using beauty and personal care products containing microbeads, the tiny plastic particles added to everything from face wash to toothpaste, you’ll soon need to make a switch.
Microbeads, made of polyethelene (pretty much the same stuff plastic grocery bags are made of), have been a beauty industry fave for their exfoliation properties. Their smooth rounded edges are seen as a safer alternative to natural ingredients like walnut and apricot shells, which are sharper and can cause tiny tears andirritation to skin.
But the little plastic spheres also are not biodegradable, so once they wash down your drain, they travel through the sewage systems and pollute waterways. Eventually, they make their way up into fish and up the food chain.
So at the tail end of 2015, President Barack Obama signed, with uncharacteristic bipartisan support, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, a federal law that, starting in 2017, will ban the selling and distributing of products that contain the beads.
The federal ban is being embraced throughout the industry. Some cosmetic companies had already started to phase out the ingredient anyway. A few states, Illinois and California among them, had passed their own bans over the last couple of years. And many dermatologists questioned whether the beads did anything other than making you feel like you’re getting cleaner because of the scrubbing sensation. All that pollution and they might not workanyway? Bye, Felicia. And on to the next!